'Tis the season for recurring cold!

Yes, 'tis the season - winter - and recurring cold is one of the many issues that come with it! It s not even two weeks that you have recovered from cold and you re yet again down with headache, blocked nose, weakness and non-stop sneezing.

Recurring cold could mean that you're either suffering from common cold/viral infection (rhinovirus), flu or seasonal allergies. Dr Raman Abhi, senior consultant and unit head, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, says, The first two are caused by viruses that are particularly suited to certain conditions and thus may occur seasonally. But the latter one is caused due to an allergy to certain environmental agents that can mimic a cold.

So, what causes recurring cold?

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Rhinovirus is the most common cause of recurring cold. And the main reason why the virus causes an infection is because it can replicate at a faster rate when the body temperature is low. This explains why most of you suffer from cold only during winters.

People are prone to developing allergic reactions to allergens in different seasons. Common cold is a viral illness that is common in cold weather while the flu is a similar illness but is also accompanied by fever and muscle aches. Some people may be more prone to developing these illnesses due to lowered immunity or even higher chances of exposure (working in crowded environment), says Dr Abhi.

Poor immunity: Recurring cold is mainly seen in people who have a weakened immune system. There are several factors that can lower immunity, which include poor diet, alcoholism and lack of physical activity.

Allergies and infection: Recurring colds may also indicate a possible sinus infection. However, recurring seasonal colds may even be seen in people suffering from seasonal allergies.

Hypothyroidism: If you re not allergic to seasonal changes and antigens, then there could be a possibility that your thyroid gland is functioning sub optimally. Low activity of the thyroid gland can also contribute to lower your immunity and slow down your metabolism. This hampers the body temperature regulation process, making you feel colder. Read these quick facts about thyroid function.

Low body sugar: Hypoglycemia also increases the likelihood of recurring cold. The body needs a steady sugar supply to function optimally. So, when the sugar levels drop over a period of time, the adrenal function gets interrupted. Naturally, this affects the process of regulation of body temperature, increasing your chances of catching cold.

Other health problems: Apart from immunity, some metabolic disorders like diabetes and other chronic diseases such as HIV, cancer and lung or kidney diseases are also linked to an increased likelihood of recurring cold.

Medicines: Frequent use of certain medications like decongestants can also make you prone to suffer from recurring cold.

Tips to prevent recurrent cold

Dr Abhi offers some tips to prevent frequent cold.

Hygiene: It is particularly important to focus on hygiene to be safe from viral cold and cough especially for people with kids or working with them. Here are a few tips

  • Wash your hands frequently, or use a sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face too much
  • If you're suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), do not get too close to others.
  • If you already have a cold, wash your hands often with soap and water. Many viruses are passed on by touching, especially from hands that are contaminated by virus.
  • Avoid sharing your personal things like towels, flannels, with anyone who is suffering from cold
  • For children, discourage the sharing of toys belonging to a child with a URTI. If your child has a URTI, consider washing toys with soapy water after use.

Boost your immunity: To boost your immune system, eat a balanced diet ensuring adequate vitamin intake and regular exercise do wonders. Here are some immune boosting foods you should include in your diet

Regulate external temperature: If you sit in an air conditioned room throughout the day, your body will be colder. Air conditioners blast moist air, which is more destructive because it causes the mucus protecting the respiratory linings to dry out, exposing the inner layer to viruses and infections.

Rest well: Most of you take your health for granted, avoid resting and continue working despite suffering from cold. This is one of the main reasons your body doesn't recover fully, triggering another episode of cold.

Lower stress: Stress is an inevitable part of life. But most of us forget that there are ways to handle and deal with stress effectively. Meditation, exercising, practicing yoga, pursuing a hobby are a few ways to lower stress and improve immunity. You can also try these 20 expert tips to beat stress.

Try natural remedies for cold: Common kitchen ingredients like turmeric, jeera, honey,aloe vera,tulsi leaves garlic, herbal tea, ginger can be go a long way in preventing and treating common cold.

Photo source: Getty images

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